The Cougars have struggled in close games this season.
Faced with the hungry Oregon Ducks, they went ahead and made it a blowout.
Klay Thompson scored 15 of his game-high 25 points in the first half as WSU (13-11, 5-7 Pac-10) thoroughly dismantled Oregon (6-8, 0-12), 67-38.
Defensively, the Cougars were at their finest. Oregon was held to 21 percent shooting on the night, and held 14 points below their previous lowest scoring total of the season.
On offense, the Cougars were firing on all cylinders. Thompson shot 9 of 15 from the floor, including 5 of 6 from three-point range. Taylor Rochestie added 16 points on 4 of 5 from behind the arc, and Aron Baynes chipped in 11.
The Cougars made 9 of 13 three-point attempts as a team, and shot 56.8% overall. WSU annihilated the Ducks in eFG%, with a 68.9% to 25% advantage.
As hot as the Cougars were on offense, the Ducks were as cold. Tajuan Porter and LeKendric Longmire were each held to 2 of 7 shooting, and Garret Sim connected on only 1 of 8. Drew Wiley led the Ducks with 10 points.
The Cougars started the game on a 25-5 run and never looked back. The game was statistically over with 7:34 to play in the second half.
Player of the Game: Thompson. In front of his Dad (as well as Taylor's Dad, and Aron Baynes' parents), Klay was electric with 25 points. He was absolutely unstoppable in both halves.
Play of the Game: This isn't a play, but so what. Kyle Weaver returned to Pullman tonight to spend his free time during the NBA All-Star break. As he quietly made his way into the arena, the ZZU CRU noticed. A Kyle Weaver (clap clap clap-clap-clap) chant started, grew, and ultimately became a standing ovation from the entire crowd. A cool moment - completely unscripted, and a very heartfelt showing of affection from the Cougar faithful.
Apparently just having Kyle in the same building helps our team play better.
Unsung hero: Rochestie. My goodness: 4 of 5 three-point shooting, a superb defensive effort on Tajuan Porter (relieved in stretches by Klay Thompson), and 5 assists. A player of the game-caliber performance on most night. But this wasn't most nights.
It was over when... A Nikola Koprivica free throw capped a 12-4 Cougar run to open the second half. The Cougars led 41-19 at that point and erased any fears of a potential Oregon comeback. This was about as complete an effort as you'll see from any Cougar team - past or present.
Stat of the night - First half scoring: Klay Thompson 15, Oregon 15
Enjoy this one, folks. Oregon has struggled this year, but was still an excellent offensive team up to this point. WSU tore them apart tonight on both ends of the floor.Klay Thompson looked as good as he ever has. Rochestie and DeAngelo Casto fired up the crowd with some key contributions. The Cougars cleared the bench for the first time in conference play. This was fun.
The team we saw tonight played like a Top 25 team. We know this isn't a top 25 team, obviously, because the Cougs haven't been able to perform like this consistently. Nevertheless, you have to enjoy the fact that this team could potentially play like this on any given night. The Cougars are still fighting, and still improving.
It's games like this that make you fall in love with WSU all over again.